Produced by Bill Bentley, it will be released in July, 2021
Light in the Attic Records announced today the first-ever posthumous tribute to the psychedelic rock luminary and pioneer Roky Erickson with May The Circle Remain Unbroken: A Tribute To Roky Erickson.
Available July 17th as an exclusive Record Store Day vinyl release, and with the full support of the Roky Erickson estate, this tribute to the late singer was produced by song champion/writer/author/musician Bill Bentley, who executive produced the 1990 Erickson tribute album, Where The Pyramid Meets The Eye. The author of Smithsonian Rock and Roll: Live and Unseen, Bill has a keen sense of knowing what matters musically, and is great at putting it into words. He also wrote the liner notes for this project, which comes in a 16-page booklet filled with rare photos and bonus flexi-disc featuring an unreleased track, titled “Love Hieroglyphics,” performed by Erickson circa the early ’70s.
The starry-eyed pied piper of Austin, Texas’ burgeoning 60s rock scene, Erickson was one of the truly mind-blowing pioneers of psychedelic music. First, as an original member of The 13th Floor Elevators (who formed in 1965) and again as a solo artist, Erickson delivered his message through song. Urgently and deeply, as if shot out of a cannon, his music traveled from the heart to the deepest reaches of higher consciousness.
With The 13th Floor Elevators, Erickson invented a brand-new style or rock & roll, one that was slightly unhinged while it explored the influence of LSD on music. After three years, the group imploded with mental issues and legal challenges, ending with Erickson being incarcerated for several years in the Hospital for the Criminally Insane in Rusk, Texas. When he was released in the early ’70s, the musician continued on his own trail, recording songs that had come to him in his far-flung cerebral wanderings. Erickson, who passed away May 31, 2019, is now celebrated on this 12-track tribute to one of the most original rockers ever.
The participants range the whole world of modern music, and each chose one of Erickson’s originals to stamp their own imprint on. Artists featured on May The Circle Remain Unbroken include: Lucinda Williams, Billy F Gibbons, The Black Angels, Margo Price, Mosshart Sexton (Alison Mosshart & Charlie Sexton), Neko Case, Mark Lanegan & Lynn Castle, Jeff Tweedy, Gary Clark Jr & Eve Monsees, Ty Segall, Chelsea Wolfe, and Brogan Bentley. Full track list below.
The songs range from Erickson’s debut iconic original, “You’re Gonna Miss Me,” recorded when he was a member first in The Spades, to some of Erickson’s later songs, such as “If You Have Ghosts,” which heard him exploring some of the outer limits of the human psyche. Each new recording is a stunning modern take on the sound that Erickson gave the world over a half-century of writing, recording, and touring. No one has ever equaled those explorations.
This truly is the music of the spheres, as Erickson once sang about his sound, as seen through the eyes and ears of those who are united in their love and respect for a person who dedicated his life to rock & roll. Erickson, through the trials and tribulations of a man both imbued with greatness and haunted by darkness, never quit in his quest to share with others what he heard and saw. As he sang on The 13th Floor Elevators last recording, “May the circle remain unbroken.”
Light in the Attic has previously re-released three albums from Erickson (including The Evil One, Don’t Slander Me, and Gremlins Have Pictures) and have additional archival releases and reissues currently in the works. Plus, a CD-edition of the tribute album will be available later this year.